|Softball Preview: UNCW Beach Bash|
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW softball team hosts its second home tournament of the season this weekend as it welcomes Bucknell, Brown and UNCG to Boseman Field for the UNCW Beach Bash.
The four teams are scheduled to play 10 games over three days at the newly-renovated ballpark beginning Friday with Bucknell and Brown at 9 a.m. In other Friday action, Bucknell will face UNCG at 11:30 a.m. before the Seahawks close out the day with games against Brown (2 p.m.) and UNCG (4:30 p.m.).
Saturday’s action gets underway with Brown and UNCG at 9 a.m. and continues with Brown and Bucknell at 11:30 a.m. and UNCW versus UNCG at 2 p.m. before wrapping up with UNCW against Bucknell at 4:30 p.m. Sunday’s slate features a pair of games as Bucknell takes on UNCG at 9 a.m. and UNCW squares off against Brown at 11:30 a.m.
UNCW (5-6) returns home after a 1-3 finish to the Gamecock Invitational last weekend in Columbia, S.C., that saw the Seahawks defeat Gardner-Webb (12-2) and fall to Georgetown (7-2), Michigan State (5-2) and host South Carolina (2-1).
Senior Brittany Gamby paced a balanced UNCW lineup that finished the tournament with 27 hits; recording four base knocks to increase her team-leading hit total to 11. Four players finished with three hits apiece and two players tallied two hits as 12 of the 14 players who made a plate appearance for the Seahawks during the event recorded at least one base hit. In the circle, freshman Peyton Jordan had a solid weekend, posting a 1-1 record and a 2.95 ERA in 19.0 innings in the circle.
Bucknell (1-3) is back in action for the first time since opening the season at the CSU Dome Tournament on Feb. 8-9. Cydnee Sanders paced the Bison attack in its season-opening tournament, going 5-for-12 while freshman Jacee Almond and junior Kristen Zahn drove in four runs apiece as the duo combined for five home runs. Freshman Lara Bean and sophomore Amanda Fazio were solid in the circle for Bucknell during the CSU Dome Tournament, teaming up to post a 1.31 earned run average and 18 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched.
Brown takes to the field for the first time this season at the UNCW Beach Bash under the guidance of second-year Head Coach Katie Flynn. Flynn, who spent 11 season as head coach of fellow CAA member James Madison, has extensive ties to the UNCW coaching staff as Head Coach Kristy Norton played for Flynn at UNCG and spent eight seasons on her coaching staff at JMU while Assistant Coach Meredith Felts played four seasons for Flynn at JMU.
Junior Trista Chavez, an Honorable Mention All-Ivy selection in 2013, returns to the Bears lineup after posting a .330 batting average and a team-high 32 RBI last season. Junior Jessica Cherness is back to anchor the Brown pitching staff following a junior campaign that saw her make 21 appearances and 18 starts while compiling a 5.92 ERA in 96.2 innings pitched a season ago.
UNCG (4-7) makes a second visit to the Port City in two weeks as it played one game in the Seahawk Invitational after its home tournament was cancelled due to weather. Senior Katelyn Bedwell has paced the Spartans lineup in the early going with a .406 batting average while sophomore Nicole Thomas has driven in a team-best 11 runs thus far. Thomas has also factored heavily into the Spartans’ efforts in the circle, teaming with sophomore Lacey Leary and redshirt senior Raeanne Hanks to compile a 4.98 team ERA in 66.0 innings pitched.
UNCW returns to action March 8 as it opens a three-game series against North Carolina Central with a 2 p.m. doubleheader at Boseman Field.